Best Examples of Phone Interview Questions for the Interviewer

Screening candidates for interviews is one of the most challenging parts of the hiring process. Before a candidate is scheduled for an online or in-person interview, a phone interview is a great way to start the screening process. Phone interview questions save the interviewer the time it would have taken to interview unqualified candidates.

After reviewing a candidate’s cover letter or resume, a phone interview is one of the easiest ways to gauge a candidate and determine whether or not they’re qualified for the position.

In this article, we will discuss the phone interview process and the best phone interview scripts for the interviewer.

Steps to Prepare for Phone Interview

Just like anything, adequate preparation makes everything ultimately easier. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a phone interviewer.

Curate a list of candidates to call. Before any interview takes place, you have to review each applicant’s resume and cover letter to decide which candidate best fits the position. If a candidate has the required experience, they’re added to the shortlist. If the candidate does not make the cut, it may be best to send them a rejection email.

Define your objectives. Different jobs have their specific needs, a particular criterion that’s non-negotiable for the job. This should be the main focus of your phone interview. Do you need a candidate with mastery of WordPress? A candidate with a master’s degree? A candidate that’s willing to work remotely etc.?

Remember, it’s not the interview. You may get carried away and think this is the primary interview. It isn’t. A phone interview is just a peripheral before the main course. Do not ask the candidate questions that should be asked in the main interview. This is only to determine if the candidate is suitable for the main interview.

Be prepared to give information about the role and company. Be prepared to answer questions from the candidate as well. Most interviewers make the mistake of thinking they’re the only ones going to be asking all the questions. As much as you’re trying to find out if the candidate is the best fit for your organization, the candidate is also trying to make sure you’re the right fit for them.

Interviewer Tips for Phone Interview

Verify their resume. Make sure the candidate verifies their experience, education, and skills.

Listen attentively for any red flags. While you’re going to ask most of the questions, you must listen to everything the candidate says and listen attentively for anything not allowed in your company.

Ask the same questions to every candidate. While you may want to switch the questions and ask the candidates questions based on their responses, it is advisable to give each candidate a fighting chance.

Phone Interview Questions Script for the Interviewer

Here are some interview questions that help you to decide if the candidate meets the requirement.

Tell Me About Yourself?

While this may seem like an easy or unnecessary question, it is an extremely crucial part of the interview process. It eases the candidate in by giving them a relatively easy question to answer.

Candidates may take a professional or personal approach to answer this question.

Whichever route they take, it gives you insight into who they are and their past experiences. And this is crucial when interviewing candidates. Asking this question also gives you an idea of what the candidate is enthusiastic about, and it can help you understand them better and discover how they fit the role they’re interviewing for.

Do You Have the Proper License, Degree, or Qualification for this Position?

Qualifications for some job applications are non-negotiable. While the qualifications and licensing may be evident in the job description, some candidates may apply regardless. If the qualification is non-negotiable, it’s best to get the question out of the way.

For example, if you’re hiring a nurse, they must have the necessary degree. If you’re hiring a doctor, it’s best to verify that they’re licensed and also, importantly, licensed to work in your state.

phone interview questions
Best Examples of Phone Interview Questions for the Interviewer 2

Why are You Looking for a New Position? Why did You Leave Your Previous Post?

This is a fundamental question you need to ask candidates you speak with.

What happened in the previous job that made them leave? Was in an unhealthy work environment? Is it a personal reason? This is important as it gives you an immediate insight into the candidate and their past work experience.

It’s also important to note that whatever reply candidates give, they will not give a reply that paints them in a bad light as doing this may hinder their chances of getting this job.

Why did You Apply to this Position?

The more information you can get out of a candidate, the better. The information you get for this answer is equally important as well, as it tells you why the candidate may be interested in working with your company.

You must employ someone interested and excited about working in your company, and not just someone that’s doing it out of convenience or on a whim.

Why are You Leaving Your Current Place of Employment?

This is a critical question as it gives you insight into how your candidate is performing in their current position and experience.

If a candidate is leaving their current position because of a particular problem they may also encounter in your company, then it may not be advisable to hire this particular candidate. Also, this is an opportunity to gauge the temperament of the candidate. If the candidate speaks ill of their current employer, it says a lot about their relationship with their superiors.

What are you looking for in your next role?

This is a crucial phone interview question as it gives you insight into whether or not the candidate has the right motives for applying for the position. By asking this, you can get insight into the candidate’s work style, career goals, personality, etc.

Tell Me About Your Current Job Responsibilities?

While this may already be in the resume, it still does not do justice to the question. By asking the candidate this question on the phone interview, you can tell the similarities with the role they’re interviewing for.

This gives you a good idea if the candidate is a right fit for the role or not.

How do You Think Your Current Skills Would Help You Match this Role?

A candidate should state how their skills would help the company and how they expect to thrive. If a candidate cannot answer this to a satisfying degree over a phone interview, it means they did not research the role properly and may be unfit for the position. 

How Many Years of Experience do You have Working in this Line?

If they’re going to be working hands-on with specific instruments or software, it’s best to understand the experience they have with that software and what they have been able to achieve with it.

This is extremely important, especially if the position isn’t an entry-level position. It is essential to make sure they understand the software and how to excel at it.

Describe Your Ideal Workplace.

You need to understand the vision employees have and the kind of environment they thrive in. Do they like working remotely? Do they prefer working full time? Do they prefer a hybrid work situation? These are some of the angles you should try to tow the conversation towards.

The candidate’s response gives you an idea of the environment they thrive in and measure if your company would be an ideal place for them to work in.  

If Offered this Position, Would You be Able to Start Immediately?

If you’re looking for a candidate to fill in this role immediately, then this is a fundamental question. Candidates usually have to give their employers two weeks’ notice before starting a new job. For contract workers, this is not the case. They may have conflicts with their contracts that would hinder them from starting new positions.

Do you Have Any Questions for Me?

This is crucial for any interview. Candidates should be allowed to ask questions. This way, they can decide for themselves if the company is the right fit for them. The kind of questions the candidate asks also gives you insight into what motivates the candidate.

It also tells you whether or not the candidate took the time to research your company. If they choose not to ask any questions, it may be a red flag.


After the phone interview, the next stage is to screen the candidates and decide who makes it to the next interview stage. Phone interviews usually last from 10-30 minutes. The interview is usually left for more in-depth technical questions. The questions in this article are interview standard questions that will make sure you hire the most competent candidate.

Jim Blessed
Jim Blessed
Jim Blessed is a certified content specialist. He's a versatile and accomplished writer with diverse knowledge in creating unique content for different niches. When he's not clicking away at his keyboard or learning new things, he's listening to or reading other peoples' thoughts.

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